In the most severe case yet in a flurry of criminal investigations that threaten to derail his campaign to retake the White House, Donald Trump is scheduled to appear in court on Tuesday to answer to dozens of felony counts of mishandling US national secrets.
The former president has made arrangements to take a motorcade the 25 minutes from his Miami golf course to the federal courthouse, where he is scheduled to contest 37 allegations of illegally keeping sensitive materials and impeding efforts to get them back.
On the night of the hearing, loyal followers of the Republican leader who is seeking reelection had already started taking to the streets, with Miami police braced for protests that may number up to 50,000 and ready for possible violence.
“There’s never been anything like it. A witch hunt like this has never taken place,” Trump told a local conservative Hispanic radio station after arriving in Miami from his summer home in New Jersey on Monday.
“When you look at what they’ve done, and when you look at the criminal acts and the horrible acts that they’ve committed, and then they come after me.”
The brazen billionaire, who will turn 77 on Wednesday, is charged with willfully hoarding numerous clearly marked government secrets that he illegally took to his Florida beachfront mansion in 2021, refusing to give them back, and collaborating with others to obstruct investigators trying to recover them.
In a considerably more serious case than any he has previously faced, he is also accused of sharing vital US secrets with others who lacked security clearance. If found guilty, he may face lengthy prison terms.